Kute Blackson inspired Samantha Tams and Estefania Lacayo to create the Latin American Fashion Summit, the first empowerment platform for the Latin American fashion industry, which took place at the Andaz Mayakoba Hotel in Riviera Maya, Mexico, from November 8 to 11.
For three days, more than 320 professionals from more than 20 countries came together to meet, share ideas, and explore new ways to succeed in a fashion industry that is under constant evolution.
Welum Editor, Lizet Esquivel, had the opportunity to attend the event and interview Kute Blackson after his keynote address, "You Are the One".
Q: During your speech you asked the audience what their purpose in life was. Do you think we can be happy without knowing our purpose in life?
A: Ultimately, happiness is a choice. Happiness doesn’t have to depend on anything. You can be happy just because you’re alive. You can be happy just because you choose. True happiness is focusing on the gratitude in which you're grateful for and living in a state of appreciation for the gift and this opportunity.
Happiness isn’t dependent on purpose. Happiness is a state of being that you can bring to living your purpose.
But I do think when you find your purpose, it gives your life a whole different sense of meaning. So you can be happy without any real meaning. Just happy looking at the trees, looking at the sun, jumping in the ocean. But your life may not have any real meaning for you.
So purpose gives you a sense of meaning as to why you’re living beyond yourself. When you do that, you tap into another level of deep fulfillment.
Purpose leads to fulfillment.
We shouldn’t allow our purpose to determine our happiness. We can be happy for no reason. When you’re happy for no reason, then it makes the journey of living an expression of your purpose that much more enjoyable.
Q: Some people get confused between their purpose in life and their jobs or roles they play (worker, father, etc.). Can you elaborate? How do they discover their purpose?
A: So there’s often a myth that your life purpose is something that you need to figure out and find up front. That unless you are crystal clear you can’t live it.
But what if you didn’t need to know everything about your life’s purpose in order to begin?
Often when we focus so much on trying to figure out all the details of our life purpose, we can end up waiting and holding back our gifts.
If you want to live your purpose, then stop waiting. Simply begin by going in the direction that moves you most deeply. Take a step. When you take a step, each step will reveal to you the next step.
You don’t need to know the entire map of where you are going to get to where you are meant to be.
You may not be able to see all the steps on the journey from where you are today. It’s OK. But you do need to start. Trust that you will be guided every step of the way.
So if you aren’t sure which direction to go in or what your life’s purpose is, begin by asking yourself these four questions:
- What does my life experience reveal and point to? Look at your life experience. Every single event and relationship has contributed to who you are. It has uniquely shaped who you are, how you see life, and what you are good at.
- What am I naturally good at? What comes easily to me? What feels like second nature? This can give you a clue as to what your innate gifts are to give the world.
- What group of people do I resonate with, have compassion for, or feel connected to? Perhaps you feel a connection with the homeless, single mothers, or the mentally challenged. This may be a clue as to who you are meant to serve.
- What problem are you gifted at solving? Based on your experiences what problems are you uniquely qualified to solve? Being successful requires that you add value to people’s lives. You add value when you solve a problem or challenge that someone is going through.
When you don’t give your gifts, the entire world misses out on your unique expression. What if Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Steve Jobs, or Oprah didn’t give their gifts?
There are people around the world waiting for you. There are people around the world who need to hear your message in the way only you can share it.
So live your purpose to the best of your ability based on who you are and where you are in life right now. As you grow, how your purpose expresses will also evolve.
Q: You mentioned that when you know your purpose and you share it, you are free, you are rich, why? Do you think all rich and successful people have found their purpose?
A: No. Just because you’re rich doesn’t mean you found your purpose. It just means you found a way to make money. And making money has nothing to do with finding your purpose. This is why many incredibly rich people, billionaires, etc. are miserable. Because they have no meaning. They just have money.
There is nothing wrong with money, but money in and of itself doesn’t mean anything. At a certain point, you might get everything, car, house, material things, and you reach a point of dissatisfaction. Even if you’re Bill Gates or the founder of Zara or Carlos Slim, there’s only so much food you can eat in a day, so much sex you can have, so many shoes you can wear, so many cars you can drive.
And so just having a job is not your purpose. Having a job means you are doing a profession. A profession is not your purpose, profession is your what. Your why is your purpose.
Purpose doesn’t have to simply be you feeding the children in India and you having a foundation. Purpose can mean you run a thriving corporation and business. But you are really in touch with the deeper reason you are doing it that is beyond yourself.
Look at Amazon, Jeff Besos. Look at Tesla, Elon Musk.
But a life without purpose eventually becomes empty.
Q: Tell us more about your experience at LAFS? How did you see the people?
A: It was a beautiful experience with so many beautiful people who are clearly hungry to make a difference. So many loving, inspired, creative people.
Q: How can your book, You Are the One, change the lives of people working in fashion?
A: It reminds people that everyone in fashion has a responsibility. They are not just making clothes. They are creating an experience. When you design clothes, things, objects or anything in the realm of fashion, you are creating an experience.
For instance, when you’re a designer, people are wearing your clothes. That can simply be fashion, but if you go deeper, you are actually giving someone an experience through what they wear to tap into another part of themselves. You realize you can change people’s lives. You can uplift a mood with color, with style of what you design. You can depress. You can help people access power.
When you realize this, you are not just making clothes and fashion, you have the potential to influence consciousness, the way people think and see themselves. This is a profound gift and responsibility.
So I would ask designers on any level, what is it you want to design? What is it you want to create? How do you want people to see themselves? And design from that perspective.
Q: You talked to us about legacy. Many people may think this is about building empires, like INDITEX (owners of Zara), but you said it was about how many lives you have touched, how you want to be remembered. Why are most people focused on money instead of their spiritual life?
A: Most people focus on money because our culture values money and validates people based on how much money that they have. But money by itself means nothing. At the end of the day, you can’t take it with you when you’re dead.
But we’re so focused on money because it’s what our culture values and it’s what has been rewarded. And we think that money is going to bring us happiness.. But if money was going to bring us happiness, then Jeff Besos and Bill Gates, all the billionaires, would be the happiest people in the world. In reality, they’re not.
Sometimes, when you get all the money and what you thought you wanted, and you’re still not happy, it’s even worse.
So money is just neutral. Money is just the facilitator of experiences. It’s through money that you’re trying to get something and we think money is the source. Yes we need money to buy things - that’s clear. But true fulfillment comes from connecting with yourself and what you are is spirit. The more you access spirit, your true self, the more you access an inner fulfillment. And the more fulfilled you are, the happier you are. The happier you are, the more creative you are. The more creative you are, the better your designs will be.
So if you want to tap into creativity and innovation as designers, connect to your own spirituality. If you tap into your own spirituality, your own spirit, soul, that is the same essence and consciousness that created all of life.
If you look at life itself - life is the ultimate fashion statement. Life is fashion. Life is design.
So God, spirit, consciousness, infinite intelligence, whatever label you want to put on the universal energy, is the ultimate designer. It’s designing everything.
Life is in a constant state of creativity. So when you tap into your spirit, you tap into that dimension of things to be able to create your own design.
So realize that, as designers, you have power.
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